Every moment counts

In The Beginning

The concept of Children in Freedom came about in 2009, when Dr Utheri Kanayo (née Susan Kiragu), working as a researcher with the University of Cambridge (research was funded by The Commonwealth Education Trust), was exposed to poverty in 16 primary schools in 5 Counties of Kenya. For the first time in her life she met children who lacked the basic resources of life, and whose cultures and school curriculum impeded their opportunity to exploit their talent to the fullest.

For example: – Children came to school hungry having not eaten the previous night or that morning.

Children were sent home from school because they could not afford to pay the school going costs (school and exam fees, tuition fees, uniform, books and stationary, desks, wages for subordinate staff like cooks and watchman). These costs even though ‘minimal’, were unaffordable to them. For example, exam fees where £1 per term, and cooks wages of £1.5 per month.

Children walked up to four hours one way to school because they lived so far away from the only school in the location
or village. Such children would leave the house as early as 4am and walk through semi-arid terrain in the dark. These children were at risk of being harmed by wild animals and being victims of sexual abuse from men who waylaid them in the bushes. Two girls were reported to have been raped.
Girls did not have sanitary towels and would either miss school when they were on their period or use alternative absorbent materials. For example, some girls would tie their sweaters under their skirts or use old cloths that they had to wash after use.

There was gender in-balance in some schools’ infrastructure. In several schools there were fewer toilets for girls, and in one of the school, the girls’ toilets did not have doors. This made going to the toilet difficult for girls, and they would have to go in a group to create a human barrier for privacy.

Some girls were going to undergo female circumcision and eventually be married off young and then drop out of school.

Children (especially girls) repeated classes after failing their end of year exams. Their achievement and advancement in education was pegged ONLY on their academic performance

The exposure of the children’s suffering was distressing to Utheri, and she decided to intervene by raising funds that would help ameliorate the children’s suffering. Her first initiative was in 2009, when she climbed Mt Kenya (16,355 ft) and raised £600 through friends, family and work colleagues. This money went towards buying building blocks (stones) to build a dormitory that would shelter girls from one school during term time. This would stop the girls having to walk long distances to and from school and the danger of sexual abuse. Utheri further created awareness among her friends and family, and through their donations, she was able to pay fees for one girl who was at the risk of going through Female Genital Cutting (FGC) and being married off; she is now (2017) in high school enjoying her studies. (watch the story of Irene). When Utheri got married, her husband Oku Kanayo joined her in this cause, and even encouraged her to relocate back to Kenya to be nearer the children and help more children. In 2013, Utheri and Oku quit their jobs in the UK to come back to Kenya to grow CIF. From supporting two children in 2009, CIF has now (2016) touched directly the lives of 90 children and youth, and has mentored thousands of people.


“Invest in one change a million”

Change a life today

As long as the lack of access to Education, poverty, injustice & inequality and persist, none of us can truly rest. It doesn’t take much to change a life, Get in touch today and start making the difference.